GULLANE, Scotland (AP) – Brandon Stone sank to his knees and dropped his putter in despair after narrowly missing out on becoming the first player to shoot a round of 59 on the European Tour.
It wasn’t all bad for the South African golfer, though.
Stone’s 10-under 60 secured victory at the Scottish Open on Sunday, earning him a third professional title of his career – the first outside his native country – and the extra prize of a qualifying spot in next week’s British Open.
He also left Gullane with a sense of regret.
After his 8-foot birdie putt at No. 18 curled just left of the cup, he slumped on his haunches, put both hands to his face, then stared at the ball for some time.
That elusive sub-60 round in 46 years of European Tour play will have to wait for another tournament. It was officially the 19th round of 60 on the tour – 18 players have achieved the feat, with Darren Clarke doing so twice.
There have officially been nine sub-60 rounds on the PGA Tour, with one of them being a 58 – by Jim Furyk at the Travelers Championship in 2016.
For the No. 371-ranked Stone, it was a return to form after a disappointing season. He had missed the cut at nine of his previous 16 events and recorded only two finishes inside the top 60 in 20 starts since October.
His previous wins both came in South Africa, at the BMW SA Open in 2016 and Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2017.
Stone rolled in four birdies on his front nine Sunday, then more on Nos. 10, 12, 14 and 15. He curled in a 40-foot eagle putt at No. 16, virtually guaranteeing him the win and leaving him needing one birdie on his final two holes for a 59.
On No. 17, he left a long putt short before more agony at the last.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80